Doing research before traveling anywhere is obviously a must. You have to know where you’re going, what the exchange rate is, what the common language is, where the best places to eat are, and the list essentially never really ends.
For a traveler on a budget, the list can be even longer. I know I said that the list never ends, but as everyone knows, some infinities are larger than others. For a budget traveler, the infinity of research is ginormous. Considering you have to know the cheapest option to get somewhere, to stay somewhere, and to get around somewhere, it’s enough to send a wave of anxiety filled chills down your back.
That’s why apps can be a vital tool for travelers looking for the best, least expensive options anywhere around the world.
Whether you’re a seasoned professional or you’re new to the travel scene, these are the best apps to help you get around the world on a budget.
Mint Budget App
Before you travel anywhere, you need to have the funds.
Mint connects to your bank account and helps you create a budget while keeping track of your savings. The app also sends an alert for any unusual spending and gives helpful tips on how to cut unnecessary costs.
Packing for a trip can be a long and daunting task.
Coming from someone who not once, but twice, packed for a vacation thinking it would be warm when it wasn’t, this app could save you the embarrassment of having to buy clothes abroad that actually match the weather.
Just enter in where you’re going, how long you’ll be gone, and what you’ll be doing, and this app will take care of all the rest.
Oh my God, do not use couch surfing, you will get murdered is probably what my Mom would say if she ever found out I was even considering couch surfing.
However, fears aside, couch surfing is actually an amazing way to see the city or town you’re visiting from a local’s perspective, and thousands of people have had non-murderous experiences.
While it is advertised as “free” accommodation, there’s no need to be a jerk about it. Offer to make dinner, buy your host a little trinket, or at the very least offer to clean the house. A little appreciation goes a long way when your host eventually writes a review on you.
OK, so you’re still kind of nervous about couch surfing or maybe you just really want some privacy. Either way, Airbnb is another cheap, but not free, way to afford accommodation.
Basically home owners will offer their entire place, or sometimes just a room or a bed, for a price that’s way more reasonable than a local hotel.
This app is great for those of you traveling in groups that want to alleviate some of the pain of paying for a hotel while still guaranteeing some privacy.
Dropbox is not used just to save your selfies and possibly an assignment or two.
Dropbox could actually save your entire trip if you use it to store your information including hotel reservations, flight reservations, passport information, and any other visa info you acquired for your travels.
This one I almost didn’t include because everyone should have Google Maps regardless of how much you travel. However, I couldn’t help but picture the sad soul that lived under a rock until they decided to hit the road for an adventure, didn’t download Google Maps, and got completely and hopelessly lost.
So, if you don’t have it already, download it. It’s easy to use, you simply type in where you want to go and how you want to get there and the app with figure out the rest.
If you’re flying from one place to the next, Hopper is a must.
The app will calculate and predict flight trends and tell you the best time to purchase a ticket.
GasBuddy is for all my road-trippers out there. May your adventures be forever spontaneous and gas be forever cheap. That’s not really realistic though, since gas won’t last forever. But it’s useful now, so, here we are.
GasBuddy can tell you how much your trip will probably cost you, gas prices change frequently so cut the app a little slack if it’s off. It will also show you the cheapest gas stations near you, and the cheapest places to get gas across the country.
So, this image isn’t exactly from GasBuddy (copyright issues, am I right), but it gives similar information. A road trip from Texas to Charlotte would be a breeze, money-wise. A road trip from Seattle to Los Angeles is a little bit of a different story.